Dubai has always been on the radar for its tourism interest, and over the years owing to its government dedicating ample time and resources to its development, it evolved from merely being a stopover destination to one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
Dubai has always been on the radar for its tourism interest, and over the years owing to its government dedicating ample time and resources to its development, it evolved from merely being a stopover destination to one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Last year, according to the Top 100 City Destinations report by UK-based market research consultancy Euromonitor International, Dubai ranked among world’s top 10 most popular city destinations.
Enter 2020, and owing to the unprecedented crisis in the form of COVID-19, tourism across the globe came to a halt. Slowly and gradually, life is heading back towards normalcy, and now the question on everyone’s mind is….is Dubai safe to travel to? So if you’re considering Dubai for 2020 or beyond, we travelled to the city recently and have rounded up some key points to help with your travel plans:
First and foremost, it is mandatory to get tested for COVID immediately prior to your travel, and present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result while checking-in for your flight in Pakistan as well as at Dubai’s airport counter after landing (make sure you keep multiple copies of the test results to avoid unnecessary hassle) . Furthermore, as per new guidelines issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation, travellers are also required to get tested prior to their return flight.
As with most travels to Dubai, our experience started with a comfortable flight with Emirates who had ensured safety and healthy protocols throughout the journey. Upon landing in Dubai, we were pleasantly surprised with the weather in Dubai. The weather in Dubai is going to continue being pleasant for the next few months, which makes it the ideal destination to plan out your year-end trips. This is not to say that you shouldn’t consider visiting during the summer, as the city has an impeccable infrastructure thanks to which one hardly feels the heat.
Being a city designed for tourism, one can easily find a hotel in Dubai which fits their budget and other preferences. However, if you are willing to splurge, we would highly recommend JY Marriot Marquis, which is where we stayed during our trip. Located in the heart of the city's downtown district Sheikh Zayed Road, the 5-star hotel also happens to be on of Marriot’s tallest hotels in the world. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that it is an experience on its own; there are over 15 award-winning restaurants, a spa and club – all within the premises! The hotel has also implemented a revamped strategy which involves numerous new protocols and practices, to ensure the highest standards of cleanliness while ensuring a luxury experience.
Moving onto the city’s attractions, most places have opened up with a set of cautionary guidelines to combat COVID-19. Google is your best friend to plan out a customized itinerary based on your individual interests, however we are sharing our experiences based on the places we visited, to help you get an overall idea of what to expect.
Shopping is almost synonymous with Dubai; no traveller comes back without visiting at least one or two (or more if you’re a shopaholic!) malls. We went to Dubai Mall (also the largest mall in the world) and The Mall of the Emirates. Both these malls have a lot to offer besides the option of shopping from some of the world’s top brands. Their food courts host a wide array of cuisines at chains of top-ranked local and international eateries. The Mall of Emirates is also home to Ski Dubai, which warrants at least one trip for experience’s sake. Dubai Mall also boasts of Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo inside its premises, which is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world.
If marine life truly captivates your imagination, then we suggest to go a step further and also a pay a visit to The Lost Chambers at Atlantis, which happens to be UAE’s largest aquarium. Here you can watch 65,000 marine animals swim in the Ambassador Lagoon! Visitors can also book a behind-the-scenes tour or even snorkel, dive or just walk underwater.
Whether you’re a hard-core adventure seeker, or just looking to satisfy your inner Marvel and/or Cartoon Network fan, a visit to the IMG Worlds of Adventure is a must-visit. Perched across Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road next to Global Village, IMG World is the world's largest indoor theme and amusement park. Divided in four adventure zones (Marvel, Lost Valley, Cartoon Network and IMG Boulevard), there are enough offerings to ensure there is something every visitor will truly enjoy. Our personal picks: Velociraptor, Predator, Spider-Man and Thor. Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs on your way out!
In order to truly experience any city that is by the sea, at least one cruise trip is a must, and Dubai has some of the best to offer in the world. We booked the Dubai Marina Dinner Cruise, through which we not only got to see the sights of Dubai Marina illuminated at night but also experience the artificial canal city from a glass-enclosed boat. For dinner, we were served a delicious buffet of continental and oriental dishes accompanied by an excellent selection of juices and other drinks. All of this topped with some melodic music, which set the ambience just right.
When it comes to iconic landmarks, the one that undoubtedly comes to everyone’s mind for Dubai is the Burj Khalifa – also the world’s tallest building at over 828 metres tall (2716.5 feet) and more than 160 floors. To visit the observation deck (also known as At The Top), you can either book the tickets online prior to your visit or buy them on the spot but be warned that you might be faced with a long queue. To go up the 124th floor, you take the world’s fastest elevator ride which takes less than a minute! The outdoor deck offers astounding views which make for excellent photo-ops (Instagram enthusiasts – take notes!). The 125th floor also offers an interactive visual display on the floor of a bird’s eye view of the city called a Falcon’s Eye View.
To get a true feel of Dubai’s evolution into one of the world’s leading metropolises, all one needs to do is pay the Dubai Frame a visit. The one-of-its-kind structure highlights the city’s beauty and diversity in a creative manner which words can perhaps not do enough justice to. And to cap it off, a desert safari experience is a must!
All in all, with the countless places to experience and well thought out precautionary safety measures in place, there is no reason that Dubai should not be on top of your travel bucket list in near future. Happy travelling!